Diane Pastoor is a proud Canadian chicken farmer. A relative newcomer to farming, she is excited about the opportunities her family has been given in this growing industry. “It was always our dream to own a farm,” says Diane, “and we moved to beautiful Saskatchewan to make our dreams come true.”
Moving from British Columbia to just outside Saskatoon, Saskatchewan in 2003, Diane and her family have a real passion for chicken farming. Diane and her husband, Mark, take a comprehensive approach to their operation, paying attention to and implementing new programs and technology. They work hard to ensure that these tricks of the trade are passed along to their four girls, Shawna, twins Brandee and Breanna, and Stephanie.
The family operates 3 barns, all of which are relatively new (the first was built in 2000, the second in 2002 and the third in 2006). By staying on top of the latest technology, the Pastoors continue to ensure that they provide a safe, quality product to Canadians. While their operations are automated to a great extent, the Pastoor family is hands-on as much as possible in many aspects of their farming.
Every member of the family plays a pivotal role on the Pastoor farm. In addition to running her farm, Diane has been on both the Board of Directors of Chicken Farmers of Canada and of Chicken Farmers of Saskatchewan, which she chairs. Mark works full-time on the family farm, where the Pastoors grow about 1 million kilograms of chicken per year. The girls have also taken to the farm like ducks to water, learning about all aspects of chicken farming.
“I am really grateful to be living this dream,” says Diane. “The Canadian chicken industry is a wonderful industry to come into – I can be with my family, provide a good environment for my children, and play a valuable role.”
The regulated environment in which chickens are raised in Canada fuels Diane’s passion for chicken farming. Supply management has given their family a stable income and allowed them to contribute to their community. “This system gives me and my family the stable income we need, as well as the opportunity to do what we want to do, which is farming.”
Diane has learned so much about the industry, especially the tremendous partnerships that exist from gate to plate. She gives special acknowledgement of her Board predecessor, Eugene Zagrodney, who passed away in early 2007, for teaching her that every part of the industry is important.
“This is an industry of partners,” says Diane, “Each and every one of us is an important link in the chain – from farmer to processor. Each of our roles is critical, and I am proud to stand alongside people who take such great pride in their work.”